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Page file on RAID or seperate disk?

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September 21, 2006 11:12:51 AM

Hi Everybody!

I got two 250GB sata 2 drives in raid 0. Got different partitions on that drive including the system partition. I also have a seperate 200 GB sata 1 drive.

Now my questions is where should I store the page file?
On the 2*250 sata 2 in raid0 where the system is on or on a seperate 200gb sata 1 disk which is not in raid0?

What's faster?

thanks in advance
September 21, 2006 12:55:12 PM

I would say on the second drive. The idea with partitions an moving the pagefile off, is that you cut down on the physical access\seek times on the drive, thus giving a slight edge in performance over the native default setting. In this case having a raid 0 with partitions, you have a complex layer of data flow and access paths. So, in my opinion(not always the best) put it on your straight disk, you could even partition that one.
September 21, 2006 2:06:52 PM

Can I ask how much system memory you have? If you have 2GB or more it may improve your performance if you disable paging.
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September 21, 2006 2:12:36 PM

Hi,
I'm not sure there's one single answer to your question: yes putting the pagefile on the second drive will reduce access times and overall HD wear, but you'll also get really slow transfer rates when you're storing or retrieving large pages to/from memory. If I were you I would actually put the pagefile on the RAID drive, because I can't stand those long delays when an entire application is paged and needs to be retrived from disk (well actually, if I were really you I'd get another drive and make a second RAID0 pair).

However you do it, I think it's good practice to have a separate partition just for the pagefile. I set it's size to 2x the RAM size (actually 2x the max RAM I expect to have in my computer). This reduces disk fragmentation, and also let's you position this partition close to the beginning of the drive to get better performance. I have two drives in my computer (no RAID), and I put Windows on the first partition of the first drive and the pagefile on the first partition of the second drive. And yes, in my next computer each of these will become a RAID0 pair.

Cheers
September 21, 2006 2:37:07 PM

Separate disk, for definite.
September 21, 2006 7:41:00 PM

I am contemplating building a new machine and am facing the same question. In the forum for the 32 Gig Flash Drive one of the guys indicated that he turned off the page file and used instead a lot of ram.

So is the question, should we purchase an additional 2 GB of ram and trun off the page file. I am also not looking for speed, I am looking for security and data security. The last machine I built I used ECC ram which was slower. I'm looking add DDR2 and the question is would I rather have 2 Gigs of 533 ECC or 1 Gig of 800?? Non ECC.

Security is two fold, as a Privatge Investigator the Swap File often has the last whole documents that a person was working on. You could use Norton Wipe file and delete things and miss the data in the swap file. The bigger it is the more stuff that remains.

The ram drive is an interesting though to speed up the disk paging, but is this line of thought moot when you have sufficient ram to turn off the disk pageing and let the operating system handle memory management.

The swap file rule that it should be 2x your ram must be absurd. For example, if I had 8 Gigs then the swap file should be 16 Gigs. If I had 8 Gigs then I don't think I would need a swap file.
September 21, 2006 7:41:18 PM

I am contemplating building a new machine and am facing the same question. In the forum for the 32 Gig Flash Drive one of the guys indicated that he turned off the page file and used instead a lot of ram.

So is the question, should we purchase an additional 2 GB of ram and trun off the page file. I am also not looking for speed, I am looking for security and data security. The last machine I built I used ECC ram which was slower. I'm looking add DDR2 and the question is would I rather have 2 Gigs of 533 ECC or 1 Gig of 800?? Non ECC.

Security is two fold, as a Privatge Investigator the Swap File often has the last whole documents that a person was working on. You could use Norton Wipe file and delete things and miss the data in the swap file. The bigger it is the more stuff that remains.

The ram drive is an interesting though to speed up the disk paging, but is this line of thought moot when you have sufficient ram to turn off the disk pageing and let the operating system handle memory management.

The swap file rule that it should be 2x your ram must be absurd. For example, if I had 8 Gigs then the swap file should be 16 Gigs. If I had 8 Gigs then I don't think I would need a swap file.
September 24, 2006 11:48:28 PM

Quote:
I am contemplating building a new machine and am facing the same question. In the forum for the 32 Gig Flash Drive one of the guys indicated that he turned off the page file and used instead a lot of ram.

So is the question, should we purchase an additional 2 GB of ram and trun off the page file. I am also not looking for speed, I am looking for security and data security. The last machine I built I used ECC ram which was slower. I'm looking add DDR2 and the question is would I rather have 2 Gigs of 533 ECC or 1 Gig of 800?? Non ECC.

Security is two fold, as a Privatge Investigator the Swap File often has the last whole documents that a person was working on. You could use Norton Wipe file and delete things and miss the data in the swap file. The bigger it is the more stuff that remains.

The ram drive is an interesting though to speed up the disk paging, but is this line of thought moot when you have sufficient ram to turn off the disk pageing and let the operating system handle memory management.

The swap file rule that it should be 2x your ram must be absurd. For example, if I had 8 Gigs then the swap file should be 16 Gigs. If I had 8 Gigs then I don't think I would need a swap file.



About security, you are definately best off turning off paging completely. I don't think you want to leave any traces of your activity on your HD, and simply deleting the swap file, or even wiping it, doesn't always eliminate the possibility of recovering some of the stuff. Not to mention that you have to be doing so consistently, and more importantly, if your computer is somehow hacked while you're working on it, everything you're doing will be just sitting there on the drive to be read from.

Turning off paging will also give you a nice performance boost, assuming you have enough RAM for it. For normal use I guess 2GB is enough to allow no paging, for heavy use perhas 4-8 GB is the point. In any event, the rule of x2 the RAM size is clearly assuming you actually *need* a pagefile, so you probably have 1-2GB of RAM or even less. In this case the general practice is setting its size to 1.5-2x your RAM. If you have 8GB of RAM (I wish I had half that) you are most likely not using a swapfile at all :) 

Cheers
September 25, 2006 12:26:22 AM

Regarding the security of the pagefile, this obviously does not address the issue of someone recovering info from the hard drive but here is a setting that clears the pagefile upon shutdown for anyone who is interested:

Control Panels > Administrative Tools > Local Security Settings
Local Policies > Security Options > Shutdown:
Clear virtual memory pagefile - Enabled.

I am using XP Pro, not sure if this exists in Home.
September 25, 2006 5:20:05 AM

This will really slow down your shutdown
September 25, 2006 5:30:43 AM

Quote:
Control Panels > Administrative Tools > Local Security Settings
Local Policies > Security Options > Shutdown:
Clear virtual memory pagefile - Enabled.


Quote:
This will really slow down your shutdown


I have noticed that and wondered if this wasn't the cause - I have a couple of older servers running domain controllers and file services and they shut down *really* slow.

Thanks!
October 2, 2006 3:33:08 AM

sorry to thread jack but I'm in a similar situation and could use some advice.

I've just ordered two wd 500gb sata drives and I've got 2 options on how to configure them

-RAID O
-Seperate drives with OS on one and the page file on the other

Which will give me better performance?

(Also I have 1g of mem so I think losing the page file is not an option)

Thanks in advance
October 2, 2006 3:58:32 AM

Unless you need the space of 2X500Gb drives, I would mirror them (RAID1) and forget about it. I have a server that I call 'SandBox' that I run MS Virtual Server on and do testing and deployment of servers for disaster recovery - I am currently running a db server in one VM with a front end app server in another and am building an accounting server and a web server.

Point is, the box gets a pretty good workout running 4 VM's - one might be installing Windows while I might be copying another to a NAS for backup while doing testing on the db server. It is a RAID 1 and I don't really notice any disk lag.

The rest of the config is Pentium D 3.0Ghz / 2Gb RAM.

Having a RAID 1 of 500Gb drives will give you stability and adequate speed for almost anything with 1/2Tb space at the same time!!
October 2, 2006 4:04:55 AM

Quote:
Unless you need the space of 2X500Gb drives, I would mirror them (RAID1) and forget about it. I have a server that I call 'SandBox' that I run MS Virtual Server on and do testing and deployment of servers for disaster recovery - I am currently running a db server in one VM with a front end app server in another and am building an accounting server and a web server.

Point is, the box gets a pretty good workout running 4 VM's - one might be installing Windows while I might be copying another to a NAS for backup while doing testing on the db server. It is a RAID 1 and I don't really notice any disk lag.

The rest of the config is Pentium D 3.0Ghz / 2Gb RAM.

Having a RAID 1 of 500Gb drives will give you stability and adequate speed for almost anything with 1/2Tb space at the same time!!


I was considering RAID 1 just for the purpose of fault tolerance, but I was under the impression that it would degrade the performace quite a bit. Have you ran a RAID 0 in your similar setup and not noticed much of a difference in performace? If that's the case I should definately go with RAID 1 (I'm also running a NAS so I will be backing up stuff there, but you can never have to many backups... :)  )
October 2, 2006 4:27:19 AM

The only time I have run a RAID 0 is when I worked at a graphics company and the Photoshop machines all had RAID 0's to try and get the fastest I/O possible - it did seem to be a little faster opening and saving large files and we reaped the benefit of having the larger space of 2 HD's but that is the only application I have used it for.

If I need speed & fault tolerance I do a RAID 10 pretty frequently but you have to be able to justify 4 HD's.

I just built a system for a govt. agency that uses 5X500Gb drives in a RAID 10 with a hot spare - I didn't do any I/O tests but I needed to stress test the ARRAY because there were some issues with drive firmware so I took things like the i386 folder from a Win CD and copied it and copied it again and put the copies inside of other folders with copies until I had a bunch of huge folders and then I copied like 4 of them at the same time and it took it and I was surprised at how fast it was going!
!